Sand Mining in Larache: Environmental Acceptability Decision, Not the Same as Exploitation License – Ministry
Rabat – The environmental acceptability decision issued on a sea sand mining project in the Sahel commune (Larache province) cannot be interpreted as an exploitation license, according to the ministry of Energy, Mines and the Environment.
In response to press reports and statements from politicians and associative actors which “contained data devoid of objectivity as well as misleading information lacking a lucid reading of the laws” in force, the ministry underlined that its role is limited to evaluating the potential effects of the project on the environment as well as the measures and procedures to be implemented to reduce them.
This type of project falls under the Law No.12-03 pertaining to Environmental Impact Studies, the Law No.81-12 pertaining to coasts and the Law No.27-13 on the exploitation of quarries, it underlined.
After several years of exploitation, the project was submitted to the legal provisions relating to environmental impact studies in order to assess its negative effects on the balance of ecosystems, the same source added, stressing that a public inquiry was conducted by the local authorities into the Sahel commune project.
In accordance with this procedure that was carried out over 20 months, an environmental impact study was presented to the national environmental impact study commission, which held three meetings to study this project (in February 2019 and July 2020).
The national environmental impact study commission approved, during its last meeting held on July 27the, the conclusions of the impact study and the procedures provided for in the specifications and this granted environmental acceptability to the project, the ministry added.
According to the provisions of Law No 27-13, the competent authority can stop the project if a threat to the environment and the natural resources appears before the issuance of an exploitation license and it can uphold this decision until measures are taken to deal with these dangers, the ministry concluded.